I Love You Dad…

Richard Jack Lewis: January 23, 1953 – September 18, 2021

Miles and Father at Medina Lake, Texas.

I lost my father to Covid on September 18th, 2021. Today would have been his 69th birthday. Anyone who knew my father knows that he would have been compelled to make some kind of “69” joke. <wink> My dad could always make me laugh; he could make most people laugh. It’s probably equally true and honest to say that his attempts at humor also often made people groan. He was one of the most friendly and outgoing persons I ever had the honor to know and have as family. He wasn’t afraid to strike up a conversation with strangers, to crack a joke, or to offer advice and his opinion.

Gallery of Photos from Dad’s High School Yearbook

My mom and dad met in high school and quickly had me to show for it. That didn’t last long and soon they were divorced and mom moved she and I to Austin, Texas. Dad stayed in San Antonio and pursued a career in law enforcement and security. He worked there for a while but eventually moved to Houston and continued working as an LEO there, as well as doing security and eventually private investigation work.

That’s dad (in the blue/white striped shirt) leaning into the left DPS car after helping catch a speeder.

Dad was always quick to assist law enforcement in catching highway speeders and dangerous drivers, which was rather ironic considering his own fast and furious driving style. There were more than a few times I recall waking up in the back of his car during or after a high speed pursuit that occurred as he was driving us back to his place after my mom had delivered me to him for one of our irregular visits (mostly holidays and summer vacations). I didn’t get to spend much more time than that with him over the years. There were long periods of time where I didn’t see him.

Dad was a true storyteller. His life was filled with amazingly crazy tales from his life and other stories from our family history. Many of those stories were incredibly humorous. I always hoped and encouraged him to record those stories for a book. It always seemed like his life, and all the crazy things he’d experienced and witnessed, would make an amazing book and movie.

Slideshow of Dad’s LEO Uniforms

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Besides his love of law enforcement and helping people (in the last year or so he’d become a volunteer firefighter at Medina Lake) he’d inherited his father’s love of animals (he’d also inherited the aviation bug, becoming the third generation of pilot in the Lewis family). His father, Jack, was famous for saving critters and nursing them back to health. Over the years, dad had several cats and a dog he loved dearly. And speaking of deer… dad became obsessed with feeding the deer up at our family’s Medina Lake house. For the last 5 or more years, dad had gotten into the habit of messaging me an endless stream of deer and cat photos. This was a near-daily occurrence. Of course there were other photos of this or that but mostly it was deer and cats and other cute animal pics. Perhaps this was his way of keeping the lines of communication between us as civil as possible – the political climate of the country these last couple of years had been a growing source of strife between he and I. His law enforcement background and generally much more conservative perspective caused friction between us on more than one occasion during the pandemic pandemonium of 2020 and 2021. Yet, we never let that keep us from coming back together and reaffirming our love and respect for each other, even as we agreed to disagree on a number of things.

There is so much more I want to say about my dad and his life. Much of it is too personal to share. There are many unresolved issues and emotions that I am still coming to grips with through the long and difficult process of grieving. For all my dad’s faults and foibles, he was an amazing man with a huge heart and I miss him terribly.

I find some solace in knowing that he found love again with his wife, Penny. The last few years with her made him the happiest he’d been in a very long time. I’m terribly sad for her loss but have found comfort in her friendship.

Another glimmer of hope in the midst of all my sorrow has been reconnecting with my little brother. I’m grateful for his friendship and hope our relationship continues to grow.

Happy birthday, dad. You’ll be in my heart, my thoughts and my soul forever.

 – SMiles Lewis (January 2022)

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Below is a gallery of images of my dad from many points along his wild-ride of a life. Below that are links to his online memorial, a very brief obituary from the local Bandera online newspaper he occasionally helped with local reporting, and links to the video of his funeral service.


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